by Erica C. Barnett
(This article originally appeared on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Monday morning, city council president Lorena González and public safety committee chair Lisa Herbold said they were both briefed last week by police chief Carmen Best on what the chief had previously described as “credible threats” to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct in early June, and that the chief described the threats as generalized threats to government buildings in cities up and down the West Coast rather than a specific threat to bomb, burn down, or otherwise damage the East Precinct. Best cited the alleged threats in June as one of the reasons police needed to keep protesters away from the building using tear gas, pepper spray, and eventually physical barricades in the area that became known as the CHOP.
Continue reading FBI Says There Was Specific Threat Against East Precinct; Durkan Letter Dodges Protesters’ Three Demands
by Seattle Black Collective Voice
A man had been murdered by the police. A heartbreaking video of the killing had made it to the internet. Thousands watched as a policeman kneeled on George Floyd’s neck, while Mr. Floyd begged for his life in vain.
Like protesters across the country, Seattle took a stand against police brutality only to experience more police brutality firsthand. Even non-protesters were harmed by the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) negligence. On Capitol Hill, tear gas entered people’s homes and businesses, and the police did not care.
SPD voluntarily abandoned Capitol Hill’s East Precinct, and the neighborhood tone changed to one of collaboration. In a city physically divided by wealth and class, people came together around a common goal: ending police violence against the Black community.
Continue reading OPINION: CHOP Not the Beginning, and it’s Not the End
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Following the early morning sweep of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) on July 1 by the Seattle Police Department, protesters say their movement will not dissolve along with the space. Continue reading “CHOP Is Not Disbanded. CHOP Was Not the Building.” — Protests Set to Continue
by Erica C. Barnett
About 10 hours after Seattle police officers moved in to remove barriers, tents, artwork, and people from the Capitol Hill Organized Protest area Wednesday morning, Mayor Jenny Durkan, police chief Carmen Best, and other department heads called a press conference to explain their actions. Continue reading After Sweeping Protest Zone, Durkan Says City Will “Memorialize” Protests, “Reimagine Policing” In Seattle
by Sarah Stuteville
A few days ago, while walking home from the “CHOP” (also known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest) I stopped to talk to a neighbor, who in turn introduced me to her Boomer-age mom, who was visiting Seattle from a rural area of Washington State.
“You all gardening?” I asked, sucking air through the thick fabric of my face mask. “Actually … we just got back from the … CHOP. My mom wanted to see it,” my neighbor answered with the halting uncertainty many Seattleites use to describe this anarchic organism of a protest that has drawn fire — literally and figuratively — from everywhere.
I turned to the White, gray-haired woman in her plum-colored fleece and Costco sneakers — looking all the world like the star of the next “Karen” video on Twitter. I braced myself for what I assumed would be her pinched disdain for the grime, the chaos — the unfocused, raw wildness of these four blocks that just a few months ago symbolized ground zero for a gentrifying “new Seattle.” A neighborhood where million-dollar condos and cavernous breweries battled it out with the “old Seattle” of non-profit art spaces, low-lit gay bars, and church-basement AA meetings.
I was glad the lower half of my face was covered when I asked her politely, “What did you think of it?”
Continue reading Bless This (Revolutionary) Mess
(This article was originally published on the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and has been reprinted under an agreement)
24 days after clearing the building and evacuating the area following weeks of anti-police protests, the Seattle Police Department swept into the area around the East Precinct early Wednesday and cleared the protest zone that has formed in this core neighborhood of Capitol Hill under an executive order from Mayor Jenny Durkan.
The 30-minute operation created a wide perimeter around the 12th and Pine building with streets cleared of campers and protesters and police reported taking some into custody but meeting little resistance. The Seattle Police Department says it arrested 31 people “for failure to disperse, obstruction, resisting arrest, and assault.”
There were no significant injuries reported. Around 6:30 AM, SPD said that a woman was reported going into labor on the east side of Cal Anderson Park.
Police said officers “enforcing today’s order” were wearing “a higher-level of protective gear.”
“Police are utilizing this equipment because individuals associated w/the CHOP are known to be armed and dangerous/may be associated with shootings, homicides, robberies, assaults & other violent crimes,” the update read.
SPD was also investigating reports of vehicles circling the area with officers reporting individuals “with firearms/armor” inside. The vehicles also did not have visible license plates, SPD reported.
Continue reading Under Durkan’s Executive Order, Seattle Police Sweep in to Retake East Precinct and Clear Capitol Hill Protest Zone
by Elizabeth Turnbull
In the early morning of Saturday, June 20, following two shootings directly outside of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) barricades, fire department safety protocols and the pleas of volunteer medics and bystanders collided.
At 2:19 a.m., bystanders called 911 after a young adult male was shot on 10th Avenue and East Pine Street.
Following the gunshots, protesters began clearing the street in front of Rancho Bravo restaurant in order to allow potential Seattle Fire Department (SFD) medical vehicles to enter after hearing confirmation, by monitoring live fire department dispatch communications, that a medical vehicle was coming to assist the victim, according to David Lewis, a fixture at the Seattle protests who was on site the night of the shooting.
“Everyone was clearing the way for all medical staff continuously,” Lewis told the Emerald. “Of course we want — we needed the medical staff, we needed them to be here and with that confirmation we were clearing all cars, all people.”
Continue reading CHOP Protesters Pleaded for Help and Received None
by Reagan Jackson
Let me preface this with one important point of clarity: Mary and I don’t owe anyone an explanation about what we chose to do. We are accountable solely to and for our community and to the call for Black healing to which we are responding. However, as a commitment to my greater calling as a healer, I have decided I will gift you with the additional emotional labor required to provide folks with more context. This is so people can educate themselves about the necessity of Black healing spaces and possibly expand their understanding of this work and our framing of it. You’re welcome.
On Monday, June 15, 2020, Mary Williams posted an Open Letter to the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) on Facebook. In it she expressed her longing to take what started out as a powerful protest in services of defunding SPD and protecting Black lives — and has since devolved into a tent city encampment co-located with a quasi-political street fair — and make it a space of healing for Black folks.
Continue reading The Tea on Our Juneteenth Black Out and the Necessity of Black Healing Spaces
(This article originally appeared on Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and has been reprinted with permission.)
One man was reported dead and another person was shot and wounded in an overnight shooting at the Capitol Hill protest zone.
Police have confirmed the shooting but have not released further details. It was not clear if any suspects were in custody.
UPDATE 10:10 a.m.: Seattle Police have confirmed CHS’s early reports on the shooting and say that a 19-year-old is dead and that there have been no arrests:
Continue reading One Reported Dead, One Wounded in Overnight Capitol Hill Protest Zone Shooting
by M. Anthony Davis
With the soon to be released video for their latest single, Opaque, Seattle band King Youngblood is emerging as a prominent voice for youth currently fighting to amplify the voices of marginalized communities.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” King Youngblood frontman Cameron Lavi-Jones tells me, “That in the process [of] writing, shooting and editing this video, we had to add more names to the list of people to dedicate this to.” Continue reading With New Video, Opaque, King Youngblood Lends Voice to Marginalized Communities